Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas isn’t so deep that he isn’t finding a little time to enjoy the fruits of his NCAA tournament labor.
To some degree, he can’t help but to feel a certain level of poetic justice after being overlooked and undervalued in high school.
Now, the 6' 1", 165-pound point guard is averaging 27.5 points through two games in the dance and sending Power 5 school after Power 5 school home as he prepares for a Sweet 16 matchup with No. 3 Arkansas on Saturday.
The No. 15 Golden Eagles fell to the Razorbacks in December, 87–76.
“It’s been pretty cool,” Abmas says of the attention he's received. “A few NBA players, Trae Young, Ja Morant, C.J. McCollum and D-Wade tweeted at me, so that was pretty cool to see.”
Abmas is unabashed about admitting that he plays with a chip on his shoulder after his experience in high school.
He grew up a North Carolina and LSU fan, and hoped to earn scholarships offers from the Tigers and the Tar Heels after averaging 19.1 points and 3.7 assists per game en route to earning district MVP honors for Jesuit College (Texas) Preparatory.
Instead, he picked up offers from the Golden Eagles, Army, Navy and Air Force.
Now, UNC and LSU will watch him compete in the Sweet 16.
“The coaching staff at Oral Roberts fell in love with me,” Abmas says. “And that’s what you want.”
Abmas led the country in scoring during the regular season at 24.2 points per game and says, above all, his mentality is what produces the on-court dominance.
“I just try to play my own game,” he says. “I’ve put in countless hours, a lot of work, and I just know the confidence that I have in my game.”
To that end, while he doesn’t mind the “Cinderella” label, Abmas said he and the Golden Eagles approach games with an expectancy.
He said they took their foot off the gas after leading at halftime in their first meeting with Arkansas but learned from the loss.
“We’ve gotta play a full game,” Abmas says. “We only played half a game. We want to win more games. For the outside people it’s kind of a surprise, but for those guys in the locker room we’ve put in work all season. We go into every game with confidence, and we’ll do the same thing against Arkansas.”
Watch the above video for Abmas's full breakdown of the Sweet 16 and Oral Roberts's run this March.